|The bar is hopping like a rabbit come nighttime. Photo: Red Rabbit|
It's obnoxiously loud inside Red Rabbit, the restaurant and bar that opened earlier this year in midtown Sacramento. It's also dark. So dark that you can barely make out the skin-sucking tank tops and towering neon heels that outfit the crowd at 8:30 PM on a Tuesday. But stick around, because the service is courteous and prompt, and the food is very good, sometimes stellar.
Start with the refreshing "watermelon 'three ways.' " Single-bite pieces of three different varieties of watermelon -- red, yellow, and black -- form a line across the plate, each with a different preparation. Red gets Greek treatment with feta, cucumber, and tzatziki; yellow goes the caprese route; and black is most interesting with its triangle cap of creamy manchego and spicy tomato vinaigrette. A toothpick speared into each one makes for easy eating but difficult sharing. You won't want to share them, anyway.
You must order the smoked St. Louis-style pork spare ribs massaged in tangy barbecue sauce. Succulent and appropriately messy, they're easily some of the best in the city. Sides include roasted potatoes whose skins should have been a bit crisper and a hefty portion of sweet braised kale that tastes faintly of cola.
Two large trout fillets crisscross each other while a gribiche (basically a mayonnaise sauce) crammed with capers and corn is mounded onto the intersection. Too bad the tousle of mixed greens and slender tongues of summer squash droop in pools of vinaigrette.
At least "dressing on the side" is an easy enough request for next time (Red Rabbit demands a "next time"). Perhaps lunch or brunch will provide a quieter visit when the tube top crowd is either at work or in bed.